Mukilteo’s new public works director has only been in office five days and already some are questioning whether he should have been hired.
The city council approved Mayor Joe Marine’s appointment of Rob McHaughey on Monday, but not everyone was impressed.
“The mayor, the city council and the city administrator dropped the ball,” said Terry Preshaw, a Mukilteo attorney.
McGaughey left the same job in Okanogan County in 2006 after being hit with a federal sex discrimination suit. Among the allegations: McGaughey used a bull whip to intimidate female workers, that he fired a woman after she shut down a project for safety reasons and that he knowingly allowed a female worker to drink coffee in which another man had urinated.
The case was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
“I mean, hello? How does that happen?” asked Preshaw.
Terry Preshaw brought the case to KING 5’s attention. She's running for city council in November, but says as a simple taxpayer, she's worried about the baggage McGaughey carries.
“I would hate to see the city be in a position like Okanogan county was," Preshaw said. "That would be a disaster.”
City officials said they knew about the sex discrimination suit, but decided to hire McGaughey anyway.
“We investigated thoroughly, talked to women he worked with and found no reason not to hire him,” said City Administrator Joe Hannan. “There were reasonable explanations for all of our questions.”
Apparently administrators didn’t know that McGaughey was fired from his job as Skagit County Engineer in 2010 after just two months on the job.
Hannan said he was unaware of the dismissal until KING 5 told him about it. Skagit County officials won't disclose why McGaughey was terminated so quickly.
A brief write up in the local Guemes Tide newspaper from September 2010 quoted Billie Kadrmas, the former human resources director, as saying, “He was not embracing the mission and goals of the Board of Commissioners.”
Joe Hannan said the issue never came up. “It was only rave reviews about his character and his work performance.”
Hannan said the city will look into the Skagit firing.
McGaughey, who makes nearly $106,000 a year, was not available for an interview Friday. The mayor of Mukilteo does have the power to fire him, if he sees fit.